Tag: New York

Tom Wolfe at Work, Or, Care to Take a Break for Gorgeous Prose?


Tom Wolfe DeskOn the website of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation (yes, I know, but we take good material where we can find it) there’s a fascinating interview with Tom Wolfe about his classic 1970 article, “Radical Chic.” The story of a party Leonard Bernstein threw for a bunch of rich liberals on the Upper West Side at which the guests of honor were Black Panthers, “Radical Chic” may be both one of the must gorgeously written and completely devastating pieces of work of the twentieth century.

In the interview, the questions and answers appear in the text, questions in blue, Wolfe’s answers in red, in the form of extended annotations. A truly great writer at work. An excerpt:

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Lew Lehrman and the Contingency of History


Screen Shot 2014-05-09 at 1.09.41 PMIn 1982, New York businessman Lewis Lehrman won the Republican nomination for governor of New York, running that November against Democrat Mario Cuomo. I myself recall the Lehrman campaign fondly—because I almost joined it. (If I joined the Lehrman campaign, my parents, eager to see their son employed at last, drily noted, I might be out of a job the day after the election, whereas if I went to work for Vice President Bush, my other option, I’d be safe until at least 1984.) I’m reminded of all this because a young friend just sent me the link to one of Lehrman’s campaign commercials.

As you’ll see—if you’d like a summary of his positions, start the clip at 2:25—Lehrman ran on tax cuts, economic growth, standing up to the teachers’ unions, and getting tough on crime.

He lost to Cuomo, as you will already have guessed, but—and this is what’s striking—only by 3.5 percent, capturing 47.5 percent of the vote to Cuomo’s 50.9 percent.

New Yorkers Fail Economics — Rob Long


It sometimes seems like the New York Times does a piece about rising real estate prices hourly. The components are almost always the same: rising prices, high demand, tight availability. (The NYT tends to see these things as distinct from each other, rather than interconnected.)  

Usually, they’ll pick a “typical” New Yorker — read: a friend of a friend of the reporter — as a peg on which to hook the piece.